Published on Sep 14, 2019
The idea to throw a party is great, the reality however, can seem rather daunting. You want everyone to have a great time and to be talking about the event both in the build up and long after the tables have been cleared. Before you do so, there are a multitude of things to think of, from the venue to the theme and the old saying “Fail to plan = plan to fail” comes into place. Because of this we have put together our top party planning tips to ensure your day goes perfectly from start to finish and is as stress free as can be…
There is no such thing as planning too early and when it comes to party planning tips, this is one of the most important. Once you have decided on a date, don’t sit back and relax and think you’ll organise a bit nearer the time. Instead start gathering your ideas and aspirations for the party and get cracking on anything you can right away. One of the first things you will need to decide on will be the theme, so make that a priority, then decide what else you will need for this. You will also need to get the guestlist together pretty early to make sure people can attend – particularly the nearer the party is to Christmas – think of how busy people’s diaries are likely to be and get in there before they say yes to other social invitations! This will also apply to people such as chefs, caterers and entertainment who can get booked up months in advance. Try to get in there first for a smoother and more stress free event.
When you get stuck into party planning, it can be easy to get so engrossed with all the extra bits and pieces that costs can quickly add up without you even realising. It’s important before you even start planning your party that you decide on a realistic budget that you can afford, then make sure that you stick to it. This may mean you have to work a little harder to get what you want with your budget, but will make it easier in the long run. For example, be sure to shop around and compare pricing before rushing into a purchase. Take a look online and use comparison sites to see if you can find the same, or a similar item elsewhere. When looking at things such as decorations, why not try and make these yourself with friends or family members? Or keep the décor theme with accessories such as fairy lights that can create a simple yet magical effect and don’t break the bank.
When it comes to planning your party, if you are stuck for time, or just feeling a bit lost with the scale of your project, think about hiring a party planner. These can be great for a whole host of reasons. A party planner can help to reduce your stress and ensure all your details will be covered. Their skills, experience and contacts mean they will already be in good stead to negotiate with others in the industry, as well as saving you a lot of time. Party planners are also good to keep your budget under control and to ensure you spend money and save money where is necessary. They know what is worth splurging out on, and what is worth saving on, as well as what will make the party a success and what might not so.
See also: Top Christmas parties in London
While this might seem an obvious one on our list of party planning tips, creating a good checklist is not something to be underestimated. Create a checklist of every little detail so you don’t forget anything, alongside dates that you want things to be done by. By creating it in order you will ensure nothing is missed and everything is fine-tuned with more than enough time for the big event.
While you may think it’s your party so you need to organise it all, it can be a mammoth task and you shouldn’t be afraid to enlist in the help of others. People are often all too happy to help out and offer their skills and ideas. By organising it on your own you can create a mammoth workload which will end up being stressful and all the necessary tasks potentially not being done in time. By getting others to help out, not only are there less tasks to do, but it can make it more fun and you can also end up with a better result as they may come up with new ideas that you might not have thought of.
While it can be tempting to go over the top with your party, sometimes simple is best. In fact, over the top pretentious décor and themes can sometimes mean too much emphasis is placed on the look when actually it should be placed on making sure everyone has a great time. And let’s face it, the main elements needed to have fun at a party are good food, good drinks, a good guest list and great music. These are the core elements you should focus on when planning your party, and while we’re not saying to ditch a theme, don’t spend too long obsessing over this. Food wise, while you may feel you need to cook something elaborate and impressive, more often than not, simple is best. Don’t worry about exotic ingredients and instead think of something everyone will like – often classic dishes such as a chicken wrapped in Parma ham or a pasta dish goes down a treat. Don’t worry about getting in lots of different wines either, stick to one type of white, one red and one sparkling and people can just choose between these.
To help minimise stress on the day and to ensure that everything is running smoothly – as well as avoiding any last-minute panics – try and do as much as you can for the party ahead of time. Book in your DJ or caterer with plenty of time and set expectations up front with each one that there is a drop-dead point for any changes. Be sure, for instance, that you are clear they cannot back out of your event after a certain date, after all, you don’t want your caterer backing out on the day and ending up without any food! Put penalties in place for anyone you’ve booked who cancels to deter them from doing this. It is also best to get set up well in advance on the day. Whether this means setting the table, decorating the space or preparing foods the day before which can be sat overnight in the fridge. Creating a perfect ambiance for a party can take time, so you could start decorating a couple of days before. This also gives enough time for you to see if you need to buy anything else to add to the party and avoids any last-minute dashes to the shop on the day.
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While sending stylish, rustic paper designs may appeal to you, in reality they are costly, require knowing everyone’s address and also plenty of prompting to get people to reply to the RSVP. To get around this, we recommend you send e-vites out instead. There are plenty of online services where you can create your digital invitations, and these can be customised and designed as you like. All you have to do is ping these out to your invitee’s email addresses and they simply click a link to let you know if they can attend or not. Not only is this super simple for people to let you know if they can make it, but it also allows you a much easier system to keep track of everything. Through many of these systems you can also send out event reminders nearer the time and prompts if they haven’t RSVP’d. It’s also much better for the environment when sent out digitally and costs a lot less too. Plus, you’re more likely to have everyone’s email address rather than home address, so will take less time out of your day to get them organised.
Music can either make or break a party. If hiring out a DJ, be sure to talk about what sort of music you want beforehand. After all, there’s nothing worse than them cracking out the cha cha slide at 7pm when only those who have peaked a bit too early take to the floor! Be sure to decide what sort of vibe you want and assess how it will change throughout the evening. If you are starting with a sit own dinner you will want something a bit more mellow, then as the night goes on you will want to get into more dance tracks to get people on the floor, before bringing out the dancing classic towards the end of the evening. (After all, was it even a party if everyone didn’t link arms to sing Mr Brightside as the night draws to a close?!)
The venue is one of the most important aspects of your party and there are many things to consider. Firstly, you need to choose a space that big enough for your party size and any activities you have planned. Secondly you need to consider the location. The venue might be ideal for what you want, but if it’s difficult for people to make their way there or if there aren’t enough ways to get home, it is going to deter people from coming. If it is out of the way, ensure there are places for guests to stay over, either in the venue itself, or nearby. Another factor to think about is parking – does it have a car park? Or are there spaces near enough to park? If not, it’s worth looking into nearby car parks or the cost of Uber’s as they sometimes offer discounts for events. Services wise, you’ll also need to ensure the venue has all the facilities you will need for your party. Check it has a kitchen if this is required, as well as things such as tables, chairs and linens that you can use. Some venues also have a cleaning crew, but if this isn’t the case be sure to hire your own to avoid any fees for a messy venue, or you to be sweeping up into the early hours of the next day!
These are our top party planning tips to help you have a smooth and stress-free party planning experience.